During my tenure as governor of Massachusetts, I had the opportunity to join a small group of people in meeting Shimon Peres, Israel’s former prime minister and current president. In casual conversation, someone asked him what he thought about the ongoing conflict in Iraq. Given his American audience, I expected him to respond diplomatically but with a degree of criticism. But what he said caught me very much by surprise.
“First I must put something in context,” he began. “America is unique in the history of the world. In the history of the world, whenever there has been war, the nation that is victorious has taken land from the nation that has been defeated – land has always been the basis of wealth on our planet. Only one nation in history, and this during the last century, was willing to lay down hundreds of thousands of lives and take no land in its victory – no land from Germany, no land from Japan. America. America is unique in the history of the world for its willingness to sacrifice so many of its precious sons and daughters for liberty, not solely for itself but also for its friends.”
Everyone in the room was silent for a moment, and no one pressed him further on his opinion about Iraq. I was deeply moved. And I was reminded of former secretary of state Colin Powell’s observation that the only land America took after World War II was what was needed to bury our dead.
Okay folks, a quote within a quote is, if not a unicum, at least a rarity in the blogosphere, but if this isn’t worth a blog post, I don’t know what is!